The Greatest Fighter Alive

The Greatest Fighter Alive – Forty-four years after swiping Ken Buchanan’s world lightweight championship and thirty-six years after shoving Sugar Ray Leonard off a gringo pedestal to take the world welterweight championship, Roberto Durán is back in the limelight. “Hands of Stone” is something of a corrective to 30 for 30’s “No Mas” episode (2013) in that it recognizes Durán as something far more than Leonard’s straight man, though it only touches the barely-restrained savagery that had become his persona by 1980, a persona that Al Pacino admitted was the model for the Tony Montana character in “Scarface.”

Ray Arcel is played by Robert De Niro despite the fact that the rough-hewn actor more closely resembles Duran’s “other trainer” Freddie Brown. It was Brown, not Arcel, who was most responsible for streamlining Durán’s savagery but if you scan the screen looking for Brown’s trademark green sweater you’ll get no more than a glimpse. The movie also perpetuates a fable about Leonard’s first defeat that is as carelessly tossed around as Durán’s shaggy locks at street parties. I borrowed Ray Arcel’s comb and straightened things out for the record and with the record, but writer-director Jonathan Jakubowicz never got the memo.

Originally published on TSS as “The Fifth God of War,” what follows is closer to the truth than “The Hands of Stone” and carries a new title more to the point.

 

The Greatest Fighter Alive

A battered and bloodied world welterweight champion glowered at his corner men as the thirteenth round was about to begin. “If you stop this fight,” he said, “I’ll never talk to you the rest of my life.” In the opposite corner, a surging Henry Armstrong sprang out of his corner at the bell. Trainer Ray Arcel, a cotton swab in his mouth, watched the last three rounds with Barney Ross’s words echoing in his ears and a prayer on his lips. He prayed not that Ross would win, but that he would survive.

The vanquished champion was brought back to the hotel where Arcel put hot towels on his swollen face and tended to his wounds. He stayed with him four days and four nights.

That was 1938. Arcel had already been in the fight game two decades. He was at Stillman’s Gym from the beginning and taught hundreds of young men how to fight, including twenty world champions. His first was in 1923. His last was sixty years later.

Arcel met Freddie Brown at Stillman’s. Brown grew up on Forsythe Street in the Lower East Side not three miles from Benny Leonard’s house. He began training in the 1920s and had what A.J. Liebling described as the unmistakable appearance of old fighters: “small men with mashed noses and quick eyes” and a chewed-up stogie stuck on his lip that contrasted nicely with the clean cotton swab of Arcel.

Mangos

Twenty-year-old Roberto Durán’s American debut was at Madison Square Garden. Thirteen thousand, two hundred and eleven ticket-buyers watched him lay out Benny Huertas like a red carpet in less than a minute. Dave Anderson covered the fight for the New York Times. “Remember the name,” he advised.

Arcel was just sitting down when that stone fist crashed on Huertas’ temple. As the Panamanian left the ring on his way to the dressing room, he startled the old man again when he kissed him on the cheek. A month later Durán would be introduced to Brown and the triumvirate would be complete.

“When I came into his camp in 1972, he was just a slugger until I taught him finesse,” Brown said. A slugger? Durán was worse than that. He was a savage, a Roman wolf-child placed in a civilizing school where ancient masters taught the art of war. Agrippina summoned Seneca to tutor a young Nero. Durán’s manager summoned Arcel. Arcel brought in Brown. It took not one, but two eminent teachers to tame Durán, and Brown bore the brunt of it; camping outside his door to chase away the broads, dragging him out of bed at dawn for roadwork, locking up the pantry.

The two old men never did completely civilize their pupil, though they did better than Seneca. Nero, after all, used Christians as torches to light the streets of Rome. Durán listened, and because he listened, he lit up fighters in six weight classes.

In 1972, Durán indecently assaulted lightweight champion Ken Buchanan and snatched his crown. His reign of terror lasted six years and twelve title defenses.

“The only guy we had like him,” Brown told Pete Hamill, “is Henry Armstrong.” Brown and Arcel knew the combined value of explosiveness and intelligence in the ring. “Boxing is brain over brawn,” said Arcel whenever the subject came up. “If you can’t think, you’re just another bum in the park.” Durán was not only “one of the most vicious fighters we’ve ever had,” added Brown, “[he was] one of the smartest.”

Durán was destined to invade the welterweight division. When he did, it was as deep as it ever was. Waiting for him were shock punchers in Pipino Cuevas and Thomas Hearns, defensive specialist Wilfred Benitez, technician Carlos Palomino, and the smiling celebrity who lorded over them all —boxer-puncher Ray Leonard.

Malice

By the end of 1979, a clash between Leonard and Durán was almost certain. Durán had already retired Palomino in a dominant performance, while Leonard stopped Benitez and took the title. They fought separately on the Larry Holmes-Earnie Shavers undercard and Leonard’s trainer Angelo Dundee watched the Durán bout very carefully. “Durán is thought of as a rough guy, but he’s not rough,” he observed. “He’s smart and slick.”

Arcel, eighty-one, and Brown, seventy-three, were watching Leonard as well, though they were very familiar with his style and how to beat it. They had already trained about thirty world champions between them. Fifty-eight-year-old Dundee had trained nine. In fact, Dundee’s novitiate was at Stillman’s Gym where he handed towels to the two masters he now matched wits with.

The posturing began soon enough. At Gleason’s Gym, Leonard was watching Durán skip rope when Durán spotted him and began lashing the rope with uncanny speed, while squatting. At a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, Durán cuffed Leonard, claiming that Leonard put his hand near his face. Two days before the fight, both men were at an indoor mall in Montreal, and Durán learned just enough English to yell, “Two more days! Two more days!” Leonard blew a kiss, and Durán charged at him and had to be restrained.

Durán was getting mean, but it was Leonard who had every physical advantage. He was younger, faster, taller, and bigger. “I’m not Ali,” Leonard insisted to the pundits. “Sure, maybe at the start I was trying to do his shuffle or his rope-a-dope, but not now.”

Durán looked pudgy in his last two outings, and the previous three welterweights he faced went the full ten rounds. Never before had three in a row gone the distance with him, and there was chatter about his motivation. Durán himself admitted that he was not always committed to training and his trainers did too, though a warning was attached: “When you’re fighting smear cases and you’re the best fighter around, it’s hard to be interested, but now he’s inspired, and when he’s inspired, he’s relentless,” Arcel said. “Leonard can’t beat this guy.”

The odds makers disagreed. Durán was a nine-to-five underdog.

Leonard was confident enough to ask permission from an aging Ray Robinson to borrow “Sugar,” but he couldn’t have anticipated how many lumps he’d get from Durán, who had more in common with fighters from Robinson’s era than he ever would.

As Leonard made his way toward the ring on June 20, 1980 Roberto Durán shadow boxed his own demons in the red corner. Both were in the best condition of their lives, though Durán exuded something like preternatural malevolence.

Arcel had already promised that we would witness “the darndest fight” we ever saw. And we did.

Durán had promised to use “old tricks” against Leonard. Old tricks. Freddie Brown’s fingerprints were all over the place. He trained him at Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskills, where he worked with Rocky Marciano in the 1950s and Joey Archer in the 1960s. Brown had more tricks than a cathouse. Durán could be seen holding Leonard in the crook of his arms to stop incoming shots and create the perception that Leonard was doing nothing. Then there was the “Fitzsimmons shift.” Dundee himself saw it: “. . . if [Durán] missed you with an overhand right,” he observed, “he’d turn southpaw and come back with a left hook to the body.” Durán executed it against Leonard in the fifth, seventh, and eighth rounds. Bob Fitzsimmons invented it and used it to implode Gentleman Jim Corbett in 1897. It’s a peach of a move.

The Hands of Stone controlled the action in this career-defining bout. His savvy was no less a deciding factor than his savagery but make no mistake, Sugar Ray pushed him almost beyond his limits.

There were over forty-six thousand witnesses. Every now and then, one of them, a thin and solitary Nicaraguan with a mustache could be seen standing up from his seat and waving a little Panamanian flag. It was Alexis Arguello.

Myths

Durán’s strategy was drilled into him. He was instructed to be elusive against the jab, close the distance, crowd Leonard, and hammer the body.

Leonard’s aggressive strategy made things more—not less—difficult to cope with for precisely the reason that Dundee had alluded to: good little guys don’t beat good big guys. “In this fight, Durán’s not the puncher,” he said. “My guy is.” The respective knockout percentages over their previous five fights confirm this: Durán’s was forty percent, Leonard’s one hundred.

Leonard promised to stand and fight more than expected. “They all think I’m going to run. I’m not,” he said to New York Magazine. “I’m not changing my style at all . . . he’ll be beaten to the punch . . . those are the facts,” he continued. “What’s going to beat Roberto Durán is Sugar Ray Leonard.”

Dundee substantiated this in his autobiography. His strategy became certain from the moment that he watched the films and deconstructed Durán’s style. Dundee said that Durán was a “heel-to-toe guy. He takes two steps to get to you. So the idea was not to give him those two steps, not to move too far away because the more distance you gave him, the more effective he was. What you can’t do in the face of Durán’s aggression was run from it, because then he picks up momentum. My guy wasn’t going to run from him.”

So there you have it.

Leonard’s strategy in Montreal was deliberate and sound. After it failed, Dundee and Leonard revised history and a willing press has gone along with it ever since. We’ve been spoon-fed a fable that has long-since crystallized into orthodox boxing lore. It is the archetypal image of the Latin bully who “tricked” our all-American hero into an alley fight, and it sprang from the idea that Leonard “did not fight his fight” because Durán challenged his masculinity.

The problem is that the idea is at complete odds with Leonard and Dundee’s statements about Leonard’s clear physical advantages and the strategy that would be formed around those advantages. It contradicts Dundee’s earlier statements about Durán’s high level of skill, and it contradicts statements both had made immediately after the bout before they had time to think about posterity: “You’ve got to give credit to Durán,” Dundee told journalists. “He makes you fight his fight.” When asked why he fought Durán’s fight, Leonard said he had “no alternative.”

Since then, Leonard’s loss to Durán has been cleverly spun, re-packaged, and sold at a reduced price. It’s time to find our receipt and exchange a fable for the facts. And the facts begin with this: when both fighters were at their best, Durán was better.

Memento Mori

Durán’s record stood at 72-1 with fifty-six knockouts. As he simmered down in the aftermath of the fight, the magnitude of it all set in. He knew that Leonard was great. At the post-fight press conference, he was asked if Leonard was the toughest opponent he ever faced. Durán, his face scuffed and swollen, thought for a moment. “Si,” he said, “. . . si.”

And then something changed. Whatever it was that raged inside Roberto Durán —a legion of devils, his hatred of Leonard, the memory of a child begging on the streets of Chorrillo— faded from that moment. He became more sedate. After thirteen years of pasión violenta and after a victory that is almost without equal in the annals of boxing history, he fell like all who forget that they are mortal, and his humiliation would be so complete that it would obscure everything else.

Old embers would flare up only sporadically after the fateful year of 1980. Three times more he would remind the world of his greatness against men that no natural lightweight in his right mind would challenge. By then the two old men had walked away. Arcel and Brown joined us in the audience and watched a melting legend fight youngsters. As the curtain slowly descended on a career that would span five decades, there was little left that recalled what he was; just some old tricks in an arsenal ransacked by age and an unbecoming appetite.

But what he was should not be eclipsed. It should be remembered. When the splendor that was Sugar Ray Leonard entranced America, Brown and Arcel closed the blinds and applied old school methods in the shadow of Stillman’s Gym. They brought a Panamanian to a peak of human performance so perfect in its blend of science and ferocity that it would never be approached again — by Durán or anyone else.

After the final bell, a jubilant Durán leaps into the air. Before he lands he sees Leonard daring to raise his arms in victory and his eyes burn. He shoves and spits at his adversary, then stalks toward the ropes at ringside and grabs his crotch as he hurls Spanish epithets. Arcel tries to calm him down. The announcer shouts “le nouveau!” into the microphone, and victorious, the raging champion is hoisted up above the crowd —above the world— still cursing the vanquished.

 This is Durán.

 

 

The Greatest Fighter Alive

______________________

 

Springs Toledo is the author of In the Cheap Seats (Tora, 2016) and The Gods of War (Tora, 2014).

 

COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Nice, long copy. Holla!


-Skibbz :

a persona that Al Pacino admitted was the model for the Tony Montana character in “Scarface.” *
Can see the resemblances now that it's mentioned. Also the line about Arguello, waving a "little Panamanian flag" made me chuckle. Just that thought. Great writing as always.


-Kid Blast :

In the unofficial round robin: SRL is 3-1-1 Hagler is 2-1 Hearns is 2-2-1 Benitez is 1-2 Duran is 1-5 On the night he beat SRL in Canada and in the long run of wins--Dejesus aside-- leading up to that one, he might have been
The Greatest Fighter Alive, but after that one, the Moore, Castro, and Barkley wins are notable and , IMO, surprisingly so is his close loss to Hagler. He seems to have had two careers. Pre-SRL and post SRL Thank you for an enjoyable read


-Domenic :

In the unofficial round robin: SRL is 3-1-1 Hagler is 2-1 Hearns is 2-2-1 Benitez is 1-2 Duran is 1-5 On the night he beat SRL in Canada and in the long run of wins--Dejesus aside-- leading up to that one, he might have been
The Greatest Fighter Alive, but after that one the Moore, Castro, and Barkley wins are notable and , IMO, surprisingly so is his close loss to Hagler. He had two careers. Pre-SRL and post SRL Thank you for an enjoyable read
This reminds me of 'Four Kings.' Great book that chronicled Hagler, Leonard, Hearns, and Duran. Even though Hearns came up short against Hagler and Leonard, he lost incredibly admirably and NO ONE did to Duran what Hearns did. That was his magnum opus. Leonard, to his credit, after the Hearns draw in the second fight, no longer disputes the result. He acknowledges Hearns' victory. Steward would later say the only guy that didn't complain about the draw was...Hearns. All epic athletes, true Hall-of-Famers.


-Kid Blast :

So true


-brownsugar :

Great article. My theory: Leonard took it too personal. Duran called his wife a whore and teased him about his manhood.... was he going to say that to the press?,.....Leonard was simultaneously one of the most viciously determined competitors inside the ring and one of the most self depreciating athletes outside of the ring. He always took the high road and always looked hard to find something good to say about the opponents he faced, especially when he beat them and they felt otherwise. Leonard NEVER provided excuses for a loss and it was his internal sense of honor that would not allow him to beg for unwarranted acceptance after a fight so I have to take that comment (I had no choice) with a 16 ounce grain of salt. You can't take away Duran's fine efforts (another one of my faves) or his victory. But unlike Duran, Leonard never had an excuse....ever. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a fighter with a bigger heart. (But in a sport like boxing, I'm sure I will)


-Radam G :

SRL has already admitted to it and wrote a book about it. It was an opened secret that SRL had been sexually molested by a pedophile boksing coach. Of course, HOS knew this, as ev'ybodee and dey momma did, and called SRL all types of faggots, punks, sweet trunks and boy-girl whores and what have you. The above psychological warfare won the scraps for HOS long before the bell rang to start the scrap. Boxing is chiefly a mental game. Kill the mind -- we pugs call it "mind pucked -- of your opponent with truths, fairytales and exaggerations, and the physical body will follow. On the night in question, the Sugarman had no chance because HOS had him thinking that it was sugar in his tank -- SRL's tank. (Sugar in da tank means that you are a soft, gay bytch.) And that is the biggest insult to a boxer even if it is true. We pugs have strange machismo. And it is not to be messed with. This is why the late, great Emile Giffith [name may be misspelled] literally killed the late Kid Paret in dat squared jungle, and SRL humiliated HOS in Fight II. Paret call Emile a "puta," and though Emile was opened-secret gay, you were not suppose to publicly pound him about it. Holla!


-stormcentre :

I love Sugar Ray Leonard. And Duran, Hagler, and Hearns. Although I am not sure Sugar Ray Leonard is the greatest fighter alive today. I am not saying he is, or that he isn't. But clearly the decision (at least thus far) related to Leonard's position in/at the front of the pack has, to some extent, been;


A) Made on Sugar Ray Leonard's popularity; which is fair/justified.
B) Not been made solely based upon Sugar Ray Leonard and/or any other fighter's wins and/or loss count; which maybe fair/justified.

Therefore the following may be food for thought.


-

Lennox Lewis.

How far back do we have to go before you get to a genuine heavyweight champion that captured as many titles and unified the way Lewis did?


-

Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.

So many great fights against competition that was as good as some of Leonard's. As such, surely a good argument can be made here for someone that is a greater fighter than Sugar Ray Leonard; a fight between Leonard and Chavez Sr. would have been a blockbuster for the ages.


-

Evander Holyfield.

True legend that fought everyone.


-

Manny Pacquaio.

I think Pac bettered Duran's record for most titles in different divisions.


-

Kostya Tszyu.

Although in a division lower; Tszyu perhaps bettered Leonard's record in some sense by being the first to truly unify all the light welterweight titles within almost 30 years. Additionally, not many modern day boxers, including many of those mentioned here, challenged themselves with competition as quickly and thoroughly as Kostya did. With Tszyu, he almost always went for the KO win.


-

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Despite the controversy, you can say with relative ease say Floyd was better than Leonard if - as appears to be done for Leonard in order to place him in the lead - you set the rules by which the contest is judged to, say, the fighter with no defeats, best all round skills on display, and perhaps a few other parameters. Yes, I know the "against what competition" argument may rule Floyd out. But then (aside from the claim that he has supposedly defeated more former/world champions than any other fighter) not only can you pick some weak opponents for Leonard too - but approaching Pac's body of work with the same critical approach (as looking for holes in Floyd's achievements) but within a catch-weight context also has an impact on him and his legacy too.


-

James Toney.

Better pure Old School fighter than them all. Nobody fought exhausted and on pure instinct alone as good as James.


-

Joe Calzaghe.

Retired undefeated with a great fight tally, and towards the end of his career he put a lot of criticism (about being a home cooked protected species) to rest.


-

Roy Jones.

Controversy aside; arguably the most dynamic middleweight ever.


-

Marco Antonio Barrera.

Who didn't this guy fight and give his all too?


-

Naseem Hamed.

If nothing else, probably the most dynamic, risk taking, and explosive modern day (if not fighter, then) featherweight ever. An incredible talent and entertainer.


-

Juan Manuel Marquez.

Like Chavez Sr. and Barrera, Marquez is probably one of the greatest Mexican fighters alive. He has a good list of opponents on his record, and (unlike Barrera) has successfully moved through various divisions.



Cheers,
Storm. :) :) :)


-Shoulder Roll Defense :

I love Sugar Ray Leonard. And Duran, Hagler, and Hearns. Although I am not sure Sugar Ray Leonard is the greatest fighter alive today. I am not saying he is, or that he isn't. But clearly the decision (at least thus far) related to Leonard's position in/at the front of the pack has, to some extent, been;


A) Made on Sugar Ray Leonard's popularity; which is fair/justified.
B) Not been made solely based upon Sugar Ray Leonard and/or any other fighter's wins and/or loss count; which maybe fair/justified.

Therefore the following may be food for thought.


-

Lennox Lewis.

How far back do we have to go before you get to a genuine heavyweight champion that captured as many titles and unified the way Lewis did?


-

Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.

So many great fights against competition that was as good as some of Leonard's. As such, surely a good argument can be made here for someone that is a greater fighter than Sugar Ray Leonard; a fight between Leonard and Chavez Sr. would have been a blockbuster for the ages.


-

Evander Holyfield.

True legend that fought everyone.


-

Manny Pacquaio.

I think Pac bettered Duran's record for most titles in different divisions.


-

Kostya Tszyu.

Although in a division lower; Tszyu perhaps bettered Leonard's record in some sense by being the first to truly unify all the light welterweight titles within almost 30 years. Additionally, not many modern day boxers, including many of those mentioned here, challenged themselves with competition as quickly and thoroughly as Kostya did. With Tszyu, he almost always went for the KO win.


-

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Despite the controversy, you can say with relative ease say Floyd was better than Leonard if - as appears to be done for Leonard in order to place him in the lead - you set the rules by which the contest is judged to, say, the fighter with no defeats, best all round skills on display, and perhaps a few other parameters. Yes, I know the "against what competition" argument may rule Floyd out. But then (aside from the claim that he has supposedly defeated more former/world champions than any other fighter) not only can you pick some weak opponents for Leonard too - but approaching Pac's body of work with the same critical approach (as looking for holes in Floyd's achievements) but within a catch-weight context also has an impact on him and his legacy too.


-

James Toney.

Better pure Old School fighter than them all. Nobody fought exhausted and on pure instinct alone as good as James.


-

Joe Calzaghe.

Retired undefeated with a great fight tally, and towards the end of his career he put a lot of criticism (about being a home cooked protected species) to rest.


-

Roy Jones.

Controversy aside; arguably the most dynamic middleweight ever.


-

Marco Antonio Barrera.

Who didn't this guy fight and give his all too?


-

Naseem Hamed.

If nothing else, probably the most dynamic, risk taking, and explosive modern day (if not fighter, then) featherweight ever. An incredible talent and entertainer.


-

Juan Manuel Marquez.

Like Chavez Sr. and Barrera, Marquez is probably one of the greatest Mexican fighters alive. He has a good list of opponents on his record, and (unlike Barrera) has successfully moved through various divisions.



Cheers,
Storm. :) :) :)
Bernard Hopkins?


-stormcentre :

I actually accidentally left him out despite meaning to include him. I was in a hurry. Thanks for reminding me. Cheers,
Storm.


-stormcentre :

Larry Holmes might deserve a look in too.


-KO Digest :

1. Sugar Ray Leonard (upset Hagler) 2. Jake LaMotta (beat Ray Robinson) 3. Marvin Hagler (truly Marvelous One) 4. Roberto Duran (beat Ray Leonard) 5. Pernell Whitaker (beat J.C. Chavez) 6. Julio Cesar Chavez (unbeaten streak) 7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, P4P #1) 8. Ricardo Lopez (undefeated 51-0-1) 9. Evander Holyfield (defeated them all) 10. Larry Holmes (followed Muhammad Ali) 11. George Foreman (2X KO Joe Frazier) 12. Michael Spinks (great LH, beat Holmes)


-stormcentre :

1. Sugar Ray Leonard (upset Hagler) 2. Jake LaMotta (beat Ray Robinson) 3. Marvin Hagler (truly Marvelous One) 4. Roberto Duran (beat Ray Leonard) 5. Pernell Whitaker (beat J.C. Chavez) 6. Julio Cesar Chavez (unbeaten streak) 7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, P4P #1) 8. Ricardo Lopez (undefeated 51-0-1) 9. Evander Holyfield (defeated them all) 10. Larry Holmes (followed Muhammad Ali) 11. George Foreman (2X KO Joe Frazier) 12. Michael Spinks (great LH, beat Holmes)
Hey KOD, Don't agree with your list, but I forgot about Jake LaMotta and Foreman. They are still alive, and therefore they both definitely deserve a look in. Cheers,
Storm. :) :)


-KO Digest :

Anybody else alive ever hand Sugar Ray Robinson a stinging defeat?


-Radam G :

Anybody else alive ever hand Sugar Ray Robinson a stinging defeat?
You mean Sugar Ray Leonard. Right? Holla!


-Radam G :

Okay! I get it. The greatest pug alive could be Jake LaMotta. Holla!


-KO Digest :

Duran was the greatest lightweight but by no means is he the living GOAT.


-stormcentre :

Anybody else alive ever hand Sugar Ray Robinson a stinging defeat?
Assuming your comment was to me . . . . . . I don't dis/agree with all your list; just some. I am not sure I would have Leonard ahead of Jake La Motta. Just off the top of my head; Jake's win over Sugar Ray Robinson (and other opponents) probably counts more than Leonard's win over Hagler, in my view. I have to think about Jake's opponents again before I commit though; but I confess that Sugar Ray Robinson is a bigger scalp to collect than Hagler or Leonard. Foreman, I would probably place ahead of Evander. Lopez is a good inclusion too. Cheers,
Storm.


-stormcentre :

Is Ruben Olivares still alive. That dude could fight.


-KO Digest :

Yes, Ruben is still with us.


-stormcentre :

Look, when it is all said and done . . . . . If you got all the (alive) cats in a room that we're talking about . . . as some made their entry . . there would definitely be more respect thrown out for some than others. But - especially now with Ali's passing - despite how loud the crowd would roar for Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, Foreman, Duran and Chavez . . . . I cant imagine too many boxers walking into that room and getting more respect than Jake La Motta. Not with Sugar Ray Robinson's scalp on his record/list.
Storm. :) :)


-KO Digest :

Jake is like 387 years old, he's kicking life's *** every day!


-Radam G :

Jake is like 387 years old, he's kicking life's *** every day!
Hehehe! You are right. Jake LaMotta is bionic. Now somebody should interest him for TSS. Holla!


-KO Digest :

A few years ago at the IBHOF, after the Banquet of Champions, I was SO SO close to getting Jake to sign his 1991 AW card for me!! Right as my card was on deck for his slow but steady autograph, his handler pulled him away and off he went. Mike Tyson just sat there nearby ignoring everyone and all requests.


-Kid Blast :

1. Sugar Ray Leonard (upset Hagler) 2. Jake LaMotta (beat Ray Robinson) 3. Marvin Hagler (truly Marvelous One) 4. Roberto Duran (beat Ray Leonard) 5. Pernell Whitaker (beat J.C. Chavez) 6. Julio Cesar Chavez (unbeaten streak) 7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, P4P #1) 8. Ricardo Lopez (undefeated 51-0-1) 9. Evander Holyfield (defeated them all) 10. Larry Holmes (followed Muhammad Ali) 11. George Foreman (2X KO Joe Frazier) 12. Michael Spinks (great LH, beat Holmes)
Sorry but I'd go with Eider Jofre at #4


-Kid Blast :

Anybody else alive ever hand Sugar Ray Robinson a stinging defeat?
Paul Pender twice Stan Harrington twice Ralph Jones


-KO Digest :

Nah, them guys are all passed away!


-Kid Blast :

Nah, them guys are all passed away!
No, really? You asked who gave SRR a good beating and I responded. And while we are on it, I's go with Eider Jofre at #4


-KO Digest :

You misunderstood. Jake is the only living human with a win over Robinson.


-Kid Blast :

ok


-Brad :

Springs got it right. Duran is the greatest living fighter. I think the people at Ring magazine also know this but the need to sell magazines and Sugar Ray on the cover sells more than Manos de Piedra.


-Kid Blast :

Springs got it right. Duran is the greatest living fighter. I think the people at Ring magazine also know this but the need to sell magazines and Sugar Ray on the cover sells more than Manos de Piedra.
Have you ever heard of Eider Jofre?


-Brad :

yes, I have


-Brad :

what is the point of the question?


-Kid Blast :

what is the point of the question?
Just wondered how you would compare him against the others who are still alive including, of course, Duran. I often learn by the reasoning of others. Should have worded my question better.


-Brad :

I know he's considered possibly the greatest bantamweight ever by people who have followed his career and understand his quality of opposition, but to be honest with you I have not seen enough of him or know that much about the guys he beat to intelligently rank him. I guess the real question is does Ring Magazine know who Eder Jofre is? He's nowhere to be found in their top 10.


-Kid Blast :

Given the quality of Ring's researchers', I doubt it. Thank you for your response.


-Paul Kevin :

Nice written article


-KO Digest :

I keep hearing, what about Hopkins? Truth is, the best fighter he ever fought, RJ, beat him. Trinidad was good but not great at middleweight. Hopkins had amazing longevity but also many years of mediocrity.


-King Beef :

I keep hearing, what about Hopkins? Truth is, the best fighter he ever fought, RJ, beat him. Trinidad was good but not great at middleweight. Hopkins had amazing longevity but also many years of mediocrity.
True, but definitely in the discussion.


-stormcentre :

Hopkins is special. Save for perhaps a 4 year stint within which he still had some very good fights with Pavlik (big upset), Tarver (big upset), Wright (reasonable upset), Calzaghe (lost), and Jones Jr (most of which he won); from 1994 right through to 2014 Hopkins (~20 years) there was hardly a time when he didn't hold a title. That's a long time to have one form of a title. Many of those years Bernard held multiple titles and even unified the division. Trinidad was and is a legend and seemed to be on a roll as a light/middleweight when he ran into Hopkins. Whilst not as sensationally eventful as Trinidad V Vargas (which I left our of *my favorite fight list); the Hopkins V Trinidad fight was also pretty good. Also, (even aside from how old he was) I think Hopkins transitioned up into light heavyweight quite nicely too. In that division B-Hop collected almost everyone's scalp except Kovalev's; and even Sergey couldn't take Bernard out. Also, Hopkins overall level of competition makes Roy Jones Jr's look a little questionable. Finally, I think you can argue that Calzaghe - whom (along with Roy Jones Jr.) Hopkins fought - was a better opponent and also a more accomplished fighter than Roy Jones Jr; which could mean that the best guy Hopkins fought was Joe Calzaghe. As, Jones Jr. avoided and/or didn't fight an awful lot of good middleweights of his time (especially for how good he is considered to be); and when both Roy and Joe finally fought, Joe easily won. Calzaghe retired unbeaten (something Jones Jr. can never do) and towards the end of Joe's career an argument can be made that he actually reversed the typical trend, by both performing better and proving his worth even more. Cheers,
Storm. :) :) *
->http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?272163640-Everyone-Has-That-ONE-Favorite-Boxing-Match&p=102658&viewfull=1#post102658


-larueboenig :

A prime Roy Jones


-brownsugar :

Jones was indescribable, in a class of his own during his prime. Too bad we couldn't see Jones against Nigel Benn or a young prime Calzaghe. But it has to be noted that Bhop and Toney (in a losing effort) made Jones look almost ordinary. Jones won a tight decisions in lackluster fights against both fighters. Not necessarily a crime....when it happens against the best. Can't speak for the pre-1950 fighters. The poor film and resolution quality takes a lot away from the action. Watching Jack Johnson grappling and holding before exploding into knockout blow or Dempsey swinging wildly doesn't leave me very impressed with the old school. I can barely tolerate watching some of the really old footage. There was a distinct lack of movement with the classic boxers and they tended to stand right in front of each other for longer periods of time. More of them slurred their speech and had cauliflower ears in those days and fought way more frequently. Not to take anything away from the verified legends of the sport. But personally I tend to put anyone who boxed before WWII in a separate category and do compare them to anyone who fought after 1960. Just my personal view, I won't argue with those who disagree or who can actually remember that far back. If anyone here is that old or has any decent reference footage please post it and speak your mind. Great comments